Saturday, October 2, 2010
From the Immigration Policy Center:
Experts Highlight Economic Gains from Immigration
At a forum held Tuesday by the Hamilton Project of the Brookings Institution, a panel of experts sought to "distinguish economic reality from myth" in the often fact-free and emotion-laden debate over how immigration affects the U.S. economy and U.S. workers. The forum, entitled "Crossing Borders: From Myth to Sound Immigration Policy" - as well as an accompanying report, Ten Economic Facts About Immigration - served to refute the shrill and empirically baseless claims of nativist groups that immigrants are stealing jobs from Americans while draining the public treasury. Read more...
Before California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman's employment of an undocumented domestic service worker hit the news earlier this week, she no doubt was expecting a tough challenge in the debate with Jerry Brown today at Fresno State University. The debate, which will be televised on Spanish language television, is sponsored by the city of Fresno, the Fresno-Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Fresno State, Univision and The Fresno Bee and will be moderated by Maria Elena Salinas, co-anchor of "Noticiero Univision," Univision's network evening news program.
Given the debate's sponsors, one could expect it to focus on issues of importance to Latinos. Latinos as a group are concerned with immigration and undoubtedly have a question or two for Meg Whitman. Whitman has supported increased immigration enforcement, holding employers accountable for hiring undocumented workers -- a point she emphasized without equivocation in Tuesday's night's debate just hours before the world learned of her undocumented household worker from Mexico, and a guest worker program, now apparently for domestic service workers as well as agricultural workers. Whitman had taken a rather curious position on Arizona's SB 1070, saying at different times that it was good for Arizona but was not for California.
Whitman will face questioning on her immigration positions tonight in the debate in Fresno, the heart of agriculture country where immigration is a big issue. But she also will have to face tough, tough questioning about her employment of an undocumented immigrant. Indeed, because of recent events, much of the debate may focus on immigration and Whitman's employment of an undocumented immigrant for nearly a decade. All in all, the Valley's Latino voters appear to be skeptical about Whitman, especially after the latest immigration blockbuster.
Besides the legal issues implicated by the employment of Nicky Diaz Santillan, Latinos will be interested in what Whitman has to say about her treatment of Diaz. Diaz's teary-eyed press conference is compelling. It is hard not to feel empathy for a poor undocumented Mexican household worker who worked for nine years in the home of a billionaire and then, according to Diaz, was summarily dismissed in a harsh, cold way with ruthless, business-like precision. According to Diaz, Whitman allegedly fired her, saying "from now on, you don't know me and I don't know you. You never have seen me, and I have never seen you. Do you understand me?" Diaz said that it was as if Whitman was "throwing me away like a piece of garbage."
But there is more. Whitman denies the Diaz account as "lies" and then the 2003 letter from the Social Security administration with her husband's note to Nicky on te letter, surfaces. How will Whitman respond to this?
Here is a guide to the debate, along with some positions of the candidates that are likely to be especially salient to Latinos
Friday, October 1, 2010
ImmigrationProf has previously reported that some communities, including the District of Columbia and Santa Clara, CA, San Francisco, and Arlington, VA counites, have sought to opt out of the Obama Administration's controversial Secure Communities program, which requires that local authorities share the fingerprints of persons booked for -- but not convicted of -- crimes. Now, the Obama administration is saying that opting out is not possible. For more on this story, see Michelle Waslin's analysis on Immigrtaion Impact.
Carolyn Lochhead writes for the San Francisco Chronicle:
Whether or not Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman received a letter from the Social Security Administration saying her former housekeeper's false documents did not match its records, Whitman did not act unlawfully by keeping the housekeeper employed, immigration lawyers said Thursday.
In fact, had she gone ahead and fired Nicandra Diaz Santillan based on such a letter, she would have exposed herself to potential anti-discrimination violations, lawyers said. Read more.
Edward Schumacher-Matos has an interesting column in the Washington Post that notes that "many of the Hispanic Republicans running this year for gubernatorial or U.S. Senate seats are making it tough for fellow Latinos to offer much enthusiasm. Some of them embrace the backward and hateful elements toward immigrants and ethnic groups that characterize a swelling nativist tide inside the Republican Party."
Click the link above to read more.
All week, with the first debate and Whitman's nanny imbroglio, California gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman (Republican) and Jerry Brown (Democrat) have been in the news. There is a little known Tea Party-endorsed candidate, who also has been endorsed by anti-immigrant advocates Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Tom Tancredo. She is Chalene Nightingale, the candidate of the American Independent Party. Her website has some slick videos, one of which plays in the background famous words of both Democratic icon John F. Kennedy and Republican icon Ronald Reagan.
With respect to immigration, Nightingale supports sending troops to the border, ending public benefits (are any available?) to undocumented immigrants, abolishing "sanctuary" cities, and ensuring that undocumented students not be eligible for resident fees for California colleges and universities.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Julia Preston of the N.Y. Times demonstrates that law professors can do research that is relevant to pressing public policy issues. Since the one year filing deadline went into effect in 1998, about 21,000 refugees who would very likely have won asylum in this country were rejected because they did not meet it, according to a study by Philip G. Schrag (Georgetown), Andrew I. Schoenholtz (Georgetown), James P. Dombach (Georgetown law student), and Jaya Ramji-Nogales (Temple). A Human Rights First report bolsters the law professors' study.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 30, 2010
MAYOR BLOOMBERG, JOINED BY FELLOW PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW AMERICAN ECONOMY CO-CHAIR RUPERT MURDOCH, TESTIFIES IN FRONT OF U.S. HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE ON “THE ROLE OF IMMIGRATION IN STRENGTHENING AMERICA’S ECONOMY”
National Coalition of Business Leaders and Mayors Launches Website to Support Sensible Immigration Reform: www.RenewOurEconomy.org
Mayor Bloomberg States America Must Fix Broken Immigration Policy to Keep America Competitive in the Global Economy
The Following is Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s Testimony as Prepared for Delivery Before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law
“Thank you Chairman Conyers, Chairwoman Lofgren, Representative King, and members of the Subcommittee for this opportunity to discuss an issue vitally important to our country’s future and to every American who is out of work or looking for a better job.
“Our broken system of immigration is undermining our economy, slowing our recovery and hurting millions of Americans. We have to fix it – and I believe this is an issue where Democrats, Republicans, and Independents can find common ground. That’s been our experience in forming the Partnership for a New American Economy, a coalition of business leaders and mayors from every political background, and from every economic sector.
“We believe that immigration reform needs to become a top national priority. We’re urging members of both parties to help us shift the debate away from emotions and towards economics, because the economics couldn’t be any clearer.
“Many studies have analyzed the economic impact of immigration; I’ll touch briefly on seven key ideas that come out of the data.
“First, since 1990, cities with the largest increase in immigrant workers have had the fastest economic growth. New York City is a perfect example. Immigrants have been essential to our economic growth, in every industry. Immigrants are a big reason why New York City has weathered the national recession better than the country as a whole. This year, we account for one in every ten private sector jobs created throughout the entire nation.
“Second, immigrants pay more in taxes than they use in benefits. Immigrants come to America to work, often leaving their families behind. By working, they’re paying Social Security taxes that support our seniors. Immigrants also tend to be young and have less need for social services.
“Third, immigrants create new companies that produce jobs. Studies show immigrants are almost twice as likely as native-born Americans to start companies. And from 1980 to 2005, nearly all net job creation in the United States occurred in companies less than five years old. Many of the new companies that define the 21st century economy – such as Google, Yahoo, and eBay – were founded by immigrants. Immigrants create small businesses, too. This is not a new story. History shows that every generation of new Americans has fueled the economic engine that makes the United States the strongest country in the world.
“Fourth, more and more countries are competing to attract entrepreneurs and high-skilled workers. Chile is offering American entrepreneurs $40,000 and a one-year visa to stay in the country. China has recruited thousands of entrepreneurs, engineers, and scientists to return and join the surging economies of Shanghai and Beijing. Yet in America, we are literally turning them away by the thousands or making the visa process so torturous that no one wants to endure it.
“Fifth, the more difficult we make it for foreign workers and students to come and stay here, the more likely companies will be to move jobs to other nations. Just look at what’s happened in Silicon Valley. Many companies that have not been able to get workers into the country have been forced to move jobs to Vancouver, Canada. Just as troubling, more and more foreign students are reporting plans to return home because of visa problems. We educate them here and then, in effect, tell them to take that knowledge to start jobs in other countries. That just makes no sense whatsoever.
“Sixth, we know that our businesses need more high- and low-skill labor than we are letting into the country. Right now, there are one million high-skill jobs that companies cannot fill, because they can’t find the workers. Allowing companies to far more easily fill those jobs would be perhaps the best economic stimulus package Congress could create. At the same time, many other companies are seeking to fill low-wage jobs that Americans won’t fill – from fruit pickers to groundskeepers to custodians.
“Seventh, and finally, creating a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants will strengthen our economy. Both the Cato Institute and the Center for American Progress have found that a path to legal status will add billions to our GDP in the coming decade.
“The economic case for immigration reform couldn’t be stronger, and our Partnership for a New American Economy has adopted a set of core principles that we hope will guide the members of this committee in drawing up legislation.
“There’s no doubt we need to secure our borders. It’s essential that America be able to decide who we want here and who we don’t. But it will be impossible to secure the borders without an overall package of reforms that reduces demand and holds companies accountable for verifying workers’ legal status.
“To keep America competitive in the global marketplace, we must recognize that our economy has changed; our immigration policy needs to change with it. Thank you.”
On Wednesday, Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced S.B. 3932, The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010. The bill takes a broad approach to solving the wide range of problems that plague our broken immigration system. It offers proposals on border, interior, and worksite enforcement, on legalization, and on future flows of immigration. Now the Senate and House both have a vehicle (Congressman Luis Gutierrez previously introduced a CIR bill in the House last December) for generating a serious discussion on immigration reform in the coming weeks. These bills are a direct response to the overwhelming public demand for solutions to our broken immigration system. Both political parties have acknowledged that this broken system is no longer sustainable, and is disrupting America's businesses, families, and long-term economic recovery. "It is hard to turn ideas into legislation and legislation into good law, but Senators Menendez and Leahy have injected new life into the immigration reform debate," said Mary Giovagnoli, Director of the Immigration Policy Center. "At a time when every social issue we care about bumps up against immigration - healthcare, national security, and the economy - this bill is a step in the right direction. However, attention now turns to the rest of the Senate and House - where there are serious comprehensive proposals which lawmakers can react to and build upon - and the question remains; will they embrace this challenge or kick it down the road once again?" The Immigration Policy Center has prepared a summary of the The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010.
Here is the draft bill. Download CIR Act of 2010
"Steven Bender's Tierra y Libertad is interesting, his research is great, and the information is long overdue." Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers
One of the quintessential goals of the American Dream is to own land and a home, a place to raise one's family and prove one's prosperity. Particularly for immigrant families, home ownership is a way to assimilate into American culture and community. However, Latinos, who make up the country's largest minority population, have largely been unable to gain this level of inclusion. Instead, they are forced to cling to the fringes of property rights and ownership through overcrowded rentals, transitory living arrangements, and, at best, home acquisitions through subprime lenders. In Tierra y Libertad, Steven W. Bender traces the history of Latinos' struggle for adequate housing opportunities, from the nineteenth century to today's anti-immigrant policies and national mortgage crisis. Spanning southwest to northeast, rural to urban, Bender analyzes the legal hurdles that prevent better housing opportunities and offers ways to approach sweeping legal reform. Tierra y Libertad combines historical, cultural, legal, and personal perspectives to document the Latino community's ongoing struggle to make America home.
From the Arizona Republic:
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu announced Monday that he is reopening the investigation into the April shooting of a deputy and asking the state Department of Public Safety to conduct lab tests on the shirt Louie Puroll was wearing when he purportedly was wounded during an exchange of gunfire with drug smugglers.
Puroll told detectives he was ambushed April 30 by marijuana smugglers in the desert southwest of Casa Grande and suffered a flesh wound to his side.
The suspects were never found despite a search by about 200 law officers. That and other aspects of Puroll’s account prompted questions into whether the shooting was a hoax. Read more.
Born in Mexico, Professional Boxer Alfredo ("Perro") Angulo, a crowd-pleasing favorite, is rumored to be out of immigration status and facing deportation from the United States, which would stymie his boxing career. Angulo has responded that it is a smear campaign prompted in part by his demand for a high purse for a fight on HBO. There appear to be complex business considerations in play in the shady world of professional boxing.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Arlington and Santa Clara Join SF In Demanding to Opt Out of Flawed ICE Program
Santa Clara, CA and Arlington, VA County Boards Unanimously Vote to Opt Out of ICE’s Controversial S-Comm Program
Arlington, San Francisco, and Santa Clara – The Santa Clara Board of Supervisors and the Arlington County Board both voted unanimously on Tuesday, September 28th, to opt out of S-Comm, which is a controversial Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) data sharing program also known as Secure Communities. Both resolutions are available at http://uncoverthetruth.org.
A broad coalition of civil rights groups applaud Santa Clara and Arlington for joining San Francisco in requesting to opt out of ICE’s dangerous fingerprinting program. S-Comm is a program that automatically shares with ICE any fingerprints taken by local law enforcement right after individuals are arrested, even if the criminal charges are eventually dismissed or the result of an unlawful arrest. The program has sparked strong opposition from civil rights organizations, law enforcement, and city officials from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco, over concerns it is being forced on hundreds of counties without any mechanism for oversight or accountability.
Jill Malone from Justice For Immigrants Catholic Campaign in Santa Clara, states, “I applaud the Board of Supervisors for taking a unified stand against S-Comm. This has been a long journey with the Board of Supervisors and we will continue to work with them to demand that ICE follows its policy and allow local jurisdictions to opt out. By opting out of this program our community will feel safer and will be able to reach out to local law enforcement for the protection of themselves and the great community."
“In places S-Comm is in effect, the integrity of law enforcement is undermined because this program breeds mistrust and misuse of law enforcement,” commented Lucero Beebe-Guidice of Tenants and Workers United in response to the Arlington County Board’s passage of the resolution against S-Comm, “We, through the Arlington Coalition Against the S-Comm Program, whole-heartedly support the Arlington County Board for having the foresight to oppose the use of local resources and law officers to enforce federal immigration laws. Arlington County has prospered because of its deep investment to cultivate trust and collaboration between the community and public servants. The resolution passed tonight demonstrates that the Board holds steadfast to core values of community that make Arlington a wonderful place to live. We urge local officials across Virginia to do the same.”
On August 17, 2010, ICE issued a statement that confirms local jurisdictions have a right to opt out by sending a written request. Recently, Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder also have both confirmed in writing that local jurisdictions can opt of S-Comm by requesting to do so in writing. Sheriff Hennessey in San Francisco has already submitted this request in writing on at least two occasions, most recently on August 31st. San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors also passed a resolution to opt out of S-Comm on May 18th.
Angela Chan, staff attorney at the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco, urged ICE to comply with their own opt out procedure for all counties requesting to do so. She states, “SF has done everything required of us to opt out. Sheriff Hennessey and our Board of Supervisors have voiced our request to opt out of S-Comm loud and clear. It’s now ICE’s turn to follow through on their word and allow counties to do what has been within our right all along. Only then will we be able to focus our local resources back on local law enforcement. S-Comm has no place in our counties because it makes immigrant victims and witnesses afraid to come forward and cooperate with local law enforcement.”
The resolutions in Santa Clara and Arlington requesting to opt out of S-Comm come a day before 578 national and local organizations deliver a letter to President Obama condemning the merger of criminal justice and immigration systems, and demanding an end to practices that harm diverse communities throughout the country.
For more information on S-Comm, visit http://uncoverthetruth.org/
The Sacramento Bee is reporting that "Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman employed an illegal immigrant for nine years, then fired her when the employee said in 2009 that she was in the country illegally, Whitman's campaign said this morning. The announcement was made in a media call ahead of a press conference at which the employee is expected to claim she was mistreated by Whitman. The Whitman campaign has characterized the claim as political."
The former employee has retained high profile attorney Gloria Allred. It is difficult to piece together the actual facts from the various press accounts. But, some of the basic facts as reported by NBC LA are as follows:
"Allred claims Whitman received a letter from the Social Security Administration on April 22, 2003, saying the Social Security number provided by the housekeeper did not match the name on file. According to Whitman's camp, [Nicky] Diaz [Santillan] was terminated in 2009 as soon as the maid's immigration status was revealed."
The key legal issue will probably be what Whitman knew and when. By the way, Meg Whitman is not the first political figure caught up in controversy over employing an undocumented immigrant.
Last night, in a debate with Democratic nominee Jerry Brown, Whitman stated her opposition to a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants. She further stated that, to address the problem with immigration, "We . . . have to hold employers accountable for hiring only documented workers, and we do have to enforce that law."
Diaz's teary-eyed video raises some non-legal issues about her treatment by Whitman that may affect some voters -- especially Latina/os -- even if she successfully convinces interested parties and the public that she did not violate the immigration laws. Diaz, for example, said that Whitman called her to fire her and said: " 'I don't know you, and you don't know me. Understand?'" Such harsh, seeming unfeeling treatment -- legal or not -- for a long-time employee in the home may not sit the right way with some people.
UPDATE (9/30): This issue appears as if it will have staying power. Meg Whitman held a press conference today in which she emphasized that she fired Diaz as soon as she found out that she was undocumented. See Gloria Allred's press conference at which she produces a copy of a letter, with a note on it allegedly from Meg's husband to Nicky Diaz, who gave the letter to Nicky.
See the SEIU's response (en español) to the Whitman matter here.
On Thursday, the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law Membership will hold a hearing on the "Role of Immigration in Strengthening America's Economy," featuring New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Fox owner Rupert Murdoch (an immigrant himself). The two formed a new coalition earlier this year to press for immigration reform.
In anticipation of the event, the Immigration Policy Center wants to draw your attention to a resource page featuring a wide range of studies which analyze the economic impact of immigration on the U.S. The available data shows that legalizing undocumented workers would improve wages and working conditions for all workers, and increase tax revenues for cash-strapped federal, state, and local governments. The IPC has also synthesized a number of state studies which assess the economic impact of immigration on state and local economies.
To view the Economics Resource Page, see: • The Economics of Immigration Reform (Resource Page)
To view the State by State Economic Benefits of Immigration, see: • The Economic and Political Power of Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians in all 50 States (IPC State by State Fact Sheets)
Courtesy of Capital Public Radio
I was at the debate last night at UC Davis between California gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman, Republican, and Jerry Brown, Democrat. Both performed as one might have guessed on questions about jobs, taxes, schools, the economy, the death penalty, and the budget, as well as Whitman's failure to vote for many years and Brown's record as a "career politician."
Jerry Brown was Jerry Brown -- iconoclastic, unscripted, and, at times, witty. Meg Whitman performed well in a scripted, some might say disciplined and stylized and unquestionably corporate, kind of way. He hung around after the debate to shake hands with the crowd. She dashed away to the spin room.
On the issues, the debate also was as predicted, with, by most accounts, no clear winner or loser. Brown suggested that California had experience with electing a non-politician Governor (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who had been successful in the private sector and had not been particularly successful as Governor. Whitman's constant theme was that Jerry Brown was beholden to the "special interest" labor unions.
What stuck out in my mind was Whitman's pledge to "attack welfare" to try to balance the state budget. That is harsh, politically charged language to use in reference to programs designed to serve as a safety net for poor families and children, the most vulnerable among us. Over the last few years, these programs have been cut to the bone. The poor have suffered in the bad economy while, at the same time, the safety net has evaporated. Still, empathy did not appear to be one of Whitman's motivators in pledging to "attack welfare," which some might view (like talk of being tough on crime) as code for attacking African Americans and Latinos.
On immigration, Brown stated his support for comprehensive immigration reform with more enforcement and a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants. He also mentioned that the Attorney General's office had participated in the federal government's Secure Communities program, in which state and local governments provide information about criminals to federal immigration authorites. Whitman registered her opposition to a legalization program and support for more enforcement, including workplace enforcement of the bar on the employment of undocumented immigrants. She also supported a guest worker program because of, what she said, was the need for immigrant workers in agriculture.
Jerry Brown understood that immigration regulation was primarily in the hands of the federal government. Whitman did not seem to be clear on that point. Arizona's SB 1070 did not come up in the debate. Whitman's curious position had been that SB 1070 was good in Arizona but not in California.
From the Associated Press: "Most Americans simply don't apply for jobs harvesting fruits and vegetables in California, where one of every eight people is out of work, according to government data for a federal seasonal farmworker program analyzed by The Associated Press."
Is that in the least bit surprising?
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Introducing Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development The University of Pennsylvania Press is pleased to announce that the inaugural issue of Humanity will be available to subscribers in October. Humanity is a semiannual publication dedicated to publishing original research and reflection on human rights, humanitarianism, and development in the modern and contemporary world. An interdisciplinary enterprise, Humanity draws from a variety of fields, including anthropology, law, literature, history, philosophy, and politics, and examines the intersections between and among them.
In the first issue:
Lynn Festa - "Humanity without Feathers"
Michel Agier - "Humanity as an Identity and Its Political Effects (A Note on Camps and Humanitarian Government)"
Martti Koskenniemi - "Human Rights Mainstreaming as a Strategy for Institutional Power"
Andrew Lakoff - "Two Regimes of Global Health"
Didier Fassin - "Ethics of Survival: A Democratic Approach to the Politics of Life" - "Unembedding War Photography: An Interview with Kael Alford"
Jan Eckel - "Human Rights and Decolonization: New Perspectives and Open Questions"
Julian Bourg - "On Terrorism as Human Sacrifice"
Today ColorLines has announced the launch of Drop the I-Word, a national public education campaign focused on eradicating the racial slur "illegals" from media use and public discourse. The i-word is a damaging term that divides and dehumanizes communities and is used to discriminate against immigrants and people of color. It is shorthand for "illegal alien," "illegal immigrant" and other racially charged terms. This campaign is an extension of the work of the Applied Research Center and ColorLines.com, to popularize racial justice and give people the tools they need to make structural changes together. This is a cross-generational, multiracial initiative aimed at raising the public awareness of, and commitment to, human rights, dignity and racial justice for all people. We can stop unintentionally fueling racial profiling and violence directed toward immigrants when we Drop the I-Word as a designation for our neighbors, children and families. We can encourage others to uphold the same human values and professional journalistic standards. Take the pledge to stop using the i-word and ask media to do the same.
Breakthrough and the Rights Working Group have produced a compelling ten minute documentary on racial profiling accompanying a new report by the Rights Working Group on the need to stop racial profiling. Besides compelling personal stories, the documentary features interviews with notable law enforcement and civil society leaders such as Hilary O. Shelton, NAACP, Dr.Tracie Keesee, Division Chief - Denver Police Department, and Karen Narasaki, AAJC.
Watch a powerful video "Face the Truth" and end racial profiling now www.restorefairness.org #rfair